Singapore - Nouvelle American @ Bistro Soori
We actually stumbled into Bistro Soori today after failing to get into Jason Atherton's insanely popular Esquina (our original destination) and Restaurant Ember (our backup choice) in the Keong Saik Road neighborhood. Okay, bad idea to attempt walk-ins at the earlier two eateries, but we honestly thought most Singaporeans are still abroad on their extended Chinese New Year holidays.
Very pleasantly surprised by the modern, clean-cut lines of Bistro Soori when we walked in - credit goes to award-winning Penang-born, UK-trained architect and part-owner of the restaurant, Chan Soo Khian.
Foodwise, another pleasant surprise - Benjamin McBride who uporooted from his native Austin, Texas (where he helmed Uchi) to come to Singapore. So, Nouvelle Americaine it is then. We had:
- Green apples, endive, caramelised pecan and blue cheese salad, which was crunchy and refreshing, the crisp pecans providing sweet bursts to counter the assertive blue cheese crumbs. The salad was slightly too sour for me, but enjoyable nonetheless;
- Sauteed scallops topped with pistachio pesto, served alongside arugula leaves & pear-vinegar gelee, with truffle oil-scented dressing. The scallops were pan-seared till slightly browned on the outside but translucently soft inside. Delish!
- 12-hour Braised Short Rib, served on a bed of creamy polenta, dotted with roasted shallots. The meat was meltingly-tender and delicious, but the polenta was too cloyingly rich and could do with more salt, whilst the shallots added nothing to the dish;
- Pan-roasted Hanger Steak with Greens, Tomatoes and Sherry Vinegar - a colorful pallette of beautiful colors and textures. The meat was a bit chewy and overcoooked (we asked for medium), but surprisingly lacked the smoky flavor we'd expect from a Texan-inspired creation. Still, loved the sharp flavors from the accompanying tomatoes & dressing.
- Almond Milk Panna Cotta with Blueberry & Lemongrass. We had a challenge identifying where the lemongrass component actually went - the sauce? the panna cotta itself? Couldn't detect any lemongrass scent, which is just as well - since I'm not too enamoured with lemongrass in desserts ... or drinks for that matter. The panna cotta itself lacked the creaminess and was one-dimensional.
- Pandan Souffle with Strawberries - this dessert fared better. The strong pandan scent wafted like a delicious cloud over our table the moment the oven door was opened at the showy open kitchen located near us. The souffle was light (a bit *too* light actually) and tasty. The accompanying strawberries contributed zero to the dish - maybe flavoring the strawberries with vanilla and caramellising them further "might" help.
All in all, a nice meal, if a tad unexciting. Definitely worth a try, though I'm not in a hurry to come back.
2 Teck Lim Road (off Keong Saik Road)
Tel: +65 6438 3802
2 Teck Lim Rd, Singapore 088380, SG
Interesting. What was the final bill before and after taxes/tip?
The salad - was it really served *on* a piece of black cloth?
The scallops appear to be "standard seared" scallops, but it sounds like it was properly done. :-)
Regarding the braised short ribs - have you had it done sous-vide before? One place in my neighborhood does it sous vide with apple or pear juice for 48 hours at a relatively low/moderate temp. Quite, quite marvelous results.
Thanks for the report.
p.s. here in the States we're watching Top Chef Texas on Bravo on TV. :-)
I think the serving "plate" for the salad was actually a Japanese, or Japanese-inspired flat, rectangular piece of rock-slate. Very popular these days in Singapore to give that Zen look.
The scallops was indeed perfectly-timed, a very pleasant surprise indeed as we did not walk into this restaurant with high expectations - being in a quiet side-street and not much talked-about in the local foodie circles.
I think sous vide would have yielded tastier results in the case of the ribs - I'd had that once before in Bo Innovation HK a few years back (pre- Michelin).